MOH News
On Launching the World Kidney Day, Al-Khateeb Confirms: ‘Media Is Strategic Partner to MOH’
10 March 2015
His Excellency the Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmad bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, has affirmed that media is a strategic partner to the Ministry of Health (MOH) which contributes to raising the communities health knowledge and awareness, thus taking part in prevention of diseases.
 
In his statements to the media, following the launch of the World Kidney Day and the National Campaign for Kidney Diseases Awareness and Prevention, Mr. Al-Khateeb lauded the indispensable role played by the media to deliver health-awareness messages to the public. He mentioned that governments across the world allocate billions of dollars to awareness campaigns. “That’s why we will work hand in hand with the media to realize the Ministry’s objective: to maintain better health for all,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, he underscored the importance of the National Campaign for Kidney Diseases Awareness and Prevention, given the fact that the Kingdom is among the countries with highest incidence of kidney diseases, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. “We have 15.000 renal failure patients receiving dialysis,” said Mr. Al-Khateeb. “While it is true that this rate is low if compared to the 600 million kidney patients around the world, we have to admit that incidence in the Kingdom is on the increase. This means that we will have to be cautious of the behaviors triggering kidney disorders.”
 
Within the same vein, the Minister mentioned that the number of those receiving dialysis at MOH hospitals amount to 10.200 patients, which equates to over two thirds of the total number of renal failure patients. “With this in mind,” he said, “we should place particular emphasis on two pivots: the first is the preventive pivot, by raising awareness and promoting health, while the second is the therapeutic pivot, by caring for patients. As for now, we have 134 dialysis centers, containing 3400 dialysis devices. The number is projected to increase to 167 centers pertaining to the Ministry, covering all the Kingdom’s cities and villages. These centers work in accordance with precise, internationally approved standards. So far companies are concerned, there are two companies currently running 15 centers. They are automatically monitored by the Single Medical File, in addition to the other national committees.”
 
Mr. Al-Khateeb pointed out that there is close cooperation and coordination between the Ministry of Health and the other health sectors seeking to treat patients with renal failure, such as the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Guard; that is to be added to the private sector.
 
“We are cooperating with these sectors through the Saudi Health Council,” said Mr. Al-Khateeb, adding that there is also coordination with the Gulf States through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) General Secretariat. Mr. Al-Khateeb highlighted that the issue of renal failure tops the agenda of any GCC or Arab meeting, citing the last gathering of the Arab Health Ministers, which was held in Cairo a month ago. “Coordination is underway with all world countries to promote protection against kidney diseases and ways of treatment.”
 
Mr. Al-Khateeb noted that there are 2,400 primary health care centers in the Kingdom, whose mission is to detect the disease as early as possible and determine its magnitude; that is to be added to discovering the other disorders affecting the kidney.
 
During a speech delivered today “Tuesday” on the occasion of the inauguration of the National Campaign to Raise Health Awareness of Kidney Diseases and Protection against them under the title, “My Kidney…My life,” and as part of celebrations of the World Kidney Day under the theme, “Kidney Health for All,” Mr. Al-Khateeb underlined that the MOH has always been keen to develop therapeutic and preventive programs with an aim of getting familiar with the best precautionary measures to cope with kidney failure.  
 
To that effect, Mr. Al-Khateeb stressed the importance of promoting awareness of kidney diseases as well as the causes of infection with it and its symptoms; urging everyone to regularly examine the two kidneys to protect them. Moreover, Mr. Al-Khateeb underlined that the awareness campaigns play an important role in raising moral and psychological aspects among kidney patients, briefing contacts and families on the best ways to deal with such a kind of diseases and replacing misconceptions about the kidney disease with evidence-based medical information.
 
He pointed out that kidney diseases are of the silent type because their symptoms appear a long period after infection with it. “Therefore,” said Mr. Al-Khateeb, “the kidney disease began to widely spread in the world, affecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well.” Citing the documented figures in records of dialysis centers and units in the Kingdom, Mr. Al-Khateeb highlighted that the number of patients undergoing hemo-dialysis in the Kingdom hits 9,768, while the number of those undergoing peritoneal dialysis amounts to 535.
 
In the same vein, Mr. Al-Khateeb underlined that the MOH has always been keen to develop therapeutic and preventive programs with an aim of getting familiar with the best precautionary measures to cope with kidney failure. “In addition to the rapid expansion of dialysis centers and units in the Kingdom, now totaling 149,” said Mr. Al-Khateeb, “the ministry was eager to introduce a program to purchase dialysis services from the private sector to treat all kidney patients of this private sector, whether those undergoing hemo or peritoneal dialysis, in line with the best quality standards and the distinguished medical and therapeutic practices.”
 
“In doing so,” the minister said, “the MOH contracted with two pioneering companies working in this field, i.e. the US DaVita HealthCare Partners Incorporation and the German Diapharm Company.” Furthermore, Mr. Al-Khateeb noted that this three-phase project will be accomplished in five years. He also cast light on the MOH’s keenness through its various plans and programs to promote programs of early detection and integrated health care in line with the evidence-based scientific methods and principles and with the participation of government institutions and civil society organizations within the concept of partnership in the community health.
 
Concluding his speech, Mr. Al-Khateeb extended his deepest thanks and appreciation to the wise leaders, atop of them the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, as well as His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, His Royal Highness the Deputy Crown Prince and Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for their non-stop support for the health sector in the Kingdom.
 
In addition, Mr. Al-Khateeb thanked all participating departments and bodies for their efforts to celebrate this international event at MOH’s hospitals and their contributions to spreading health awareness of the kidney disease among the targeted group in our dear country.
 
For his part, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Hospitals’ Affairs, Dr. Aqeel bin Jam'aan Al-Ghamdi, noted that the MOH’s celebrations of the World Kidney Day, held this year under the theme “Kidney Health for All”, aim at spreading awareness of the importance of the kidney and shedding light on the common kidney diseases.
 
He added that the World Kidney Day aims to increase awareness among individuals and the society, urge regular periodic examination of the kidney and brief health practitioners on their role in the early detection of kidney diseases; that is to be added to reminding people that diabetes and high blood pressure are of the most important risk factors for infection with kidney diseases, and encouraging local and national health authorities to assume their role in fighting kidney diseases.
 
Moreover, Dr. Al-Ghamdi noted that the number of patients with renal failure in the Kingdom exceeded 15,000 patients, with an annual increase of about 7.2%. “The rate of infections with chronic kidney diseases reaches 6-8% in Saudi Arabia and 14.2% at the international level, namely 600 million people,” he said.
 
Speaking about factors standing behind the increased number of kidney patients, Dr. Al-Ghamdi said this includes the changed lifestyle, population growth and the higher rate of life expectancy for individuals and infections with diabetes. In addition, Dr. Al-Ghamdi expected the number of kidney patients in the Kingdom to hit two billion by 2030, highlighting that about 45% of patients with severe renal failure are suffering from complications of diabetes and high blood pressure, and about 28% of them are suffering from complications of blood pressure, obesity and smoking.
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi pointed out that the Ministry of Health is striving to provide curative and preventive services for kidney patients through adopting a project to purchase needed services for them, currently benefitting 730 patients. “Now, there are 10 centers with a capacity of 1,500 patients,” he said, adding that the project will be expanded during the coming period in line with the pre-set plan, targeting 10,000 patients across the Kingdom.
 
“Moreover, the MOH has adopted two projects on health surveys and awareness of kidney diseases,” he said, noting that cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the National Program for Kidney Diseases resulted in setting national standards for the establishment and operation of kidney centers. Furthermore, Dr. Al-Ghamdi shed light on the Saudi Preventive Draft Program and Surveys of Chronic Kidney Diseases, as well as the National Campaign to Raise Health Awareness of Kidney Diseases and Protection against them, the Clinical Guidelines for Hemo-Dialysis Centers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Clinical Guidelines for Peritoneal Dialysis Centers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in addition to the other services provided to serve kidney patients as best as possible.
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi made clear that health education is deemed to be of the most important fields of the modern concept of health, given its impact on and role in changing people’s unhealthy beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles. It is also important for raising their awareness of diseases, and the preventive methods they should embrace to avoid suffering from such diseases in the future. Additionally, it bolsters their sense of responsibility for their own health, as well as the health of the others, taking into account the increased incidence of this disease over the coming period, especially that it could develop as a complication for such diseases as diabetes and hypertension, let alone the social, economic and health ramifications. It was for all such reasons that the Ministry of Health has adopted the project of the National Campaign for Kidney Diseases Awareness and Prevention.
 
The project, according to Dr. Al-Ghamdi, is aimed to identify the acute and chronic kidney diseases, as well as their causes and symptoms, and educate individuals on the kidney diseases, early detection, and ways of prevention. In so doing, it seeks to familiarize people with the burden of kidney diseases, and their paralyzing impact to both individuals and the whole society, as well as raising people’s awareness on how to avoid such diseases.
 
“The campaign project,” he continued, “comprises workshops for health professionals and journalists, as well as training courses for the public. It utilizes video and audio media, together with e-media and social networks, in addition to books, flyers and mobile exhibitions. That is to be added to launching a website for the campaign.”
 
Among the events to be held on the sidelines of the campaign are scientific events dedicated to health reporters, organized in collaboration with the Saudi Society of Nephrology. They consist of a number of scientific lectures, with 9 CME hours accredited by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS).
 
 



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